The decision of the family members of Mrityunjoy Barman, believed to be gunned down by police in the small hours of April 27 in his village Chandga, North Dinajpur, to stay away, has raised questions on whether they had reasons to feel unsafe.
Soon after a mob, protesting the death of a girl in the district torched Kaliaganj police station and beat up cops on April 25, Mrituyunjoy, a resident of Chandga, was allegedly gunned down by the police during a search for those who took part in the violence.
His family members accused a policeman of killing him and filed a complaint with the SP. The state handed over the probe to the CID. Earlier this week, Calcutta High Court ordered a magistrate-level probe of the death along with that of the CID.
Mrityunjoy’s family, however, deserted the village, citing pressure to withdraw the complaint.
On Friday, they reached the village with a team from the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) but did not stay back.
“We are under immense pressure as we have named the police officer who shot my brother. We have been told to withdraw the complaint. We are thinking of performing my brother’s post-funeral rituals outside the village,” said bereaved brother Mrinalkanti. The family, sources said, is staying under the supervision of a social outfit in Malda.
In Chandga, other residents are also scared.
“CID officers have spoken with some of us. Police are all around. We fear indiscriminate arrests as many of us protested after Mrityunjoy was killed,” said a villager.
In another area of thedistrict, where the 17-year-old girl was found dead on April 21, the situation is equally tense.
“Youths are not spending nights at homes, fearing arrests. There is fear in the village as the violence at Kaliaganj town happened during a march in protest of the girl’s death,” a resident said.
Arun Haldar, the vice-chairperson of NCSC who was in Chandga village on Friday, said he would speak with the state and central governments.
On Saturday, monks from Bharat Sevashram Sangha visited both villages and said they would educate Mrityunjoy’s son.
Basudeb Sarkar, the BJP district president, said he suspected the police were biased against villagers who were BJP supporters.
Trinamul leaders accused the BJP of doing politics by using bereaved families and creating panic. A district police source said “adequate security” had been deployed in the area.